Getting organized makes it onto most folks’ New-Year’s-resolution lists. And though I agree whole-heartedly that it’s an important goal, I think No. 1 on the list should be "Consume less."

Everywhere you go, there are opportunities to collect, consume, devour, hoard and accumulate unnecessary items. In fact, it’s all this excess buying, eating and receiving that lead to our resolutions: lose weight, reduce debt, declutter, organize.

The best way to get control of our environment is to compartmentalize goals into macro elements; i.e., organize in large chunks and leave the micro details for later, when things are more attainable.


So if your goal is to organize your desk, which is piled high with clutter (for many, this is the dining table), start by removing all contents from the surface and place them into bins labeled with broad categories such as to file, urgent, for storage, to recycle, to read, shred, supplies, etc. Having the instant physical change of a clear surface will give you a sense of accomplishment and productivity. With momentum and a clear surface to work on, it’s the perfect time to concentrate on the detailed paper sorting. Label everything!

The good thing is that de-cluttering and organizing can turn the bleakest situation around in hours — if you use productive methods (i.e., purge the junk). Here’s my list of golden rules:

  • Don’t waste time organizing clutter. You must edit junk first.

  • DIYers, beware of your own limitations, whether physical, mental, financial or time-related.

  • Don’t be a martyr; ask for help.

  • Stop buying storage bins to store junk. It’s not the answer.

  • Long-term storage units are a huge financial loss.

  • Give only items in good working condition to charities.

Brenda Borenstein is your professional organizing guru. Look for her column every second Thursday. For more tips and ideas, visit www.organizedzone.comor call 416-665-2165. Brenda has organized hundreds of homes and says, "There is nothing I haven’t seen and nothing that can’t be overcome."

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